SCOTTGARAN's SparkPeople Blog SCOTTGARAN's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community King for a day! <BR> Many of my Sundays are spent diving in Sandusky, Ohio. For me, I have a 2 hour ride to get there and back. This ride is a time to reflect upon life. The present, past and future. While I generally post about fitness topics, I began to think about life in general. To be truly fit, you must take care of the physical, but also the emotional and spiritual. Now I am am not going to try to change anybody’s spiritual beliefs, but you will shortly see how this all fits together. No matter what ... Wed, 29 Aug 2012 14:12:04 EST One step back, two steps forward. <BR> <BR> Throughout the day, I try to go over things in my mind to see what I could have done differently. How could today have been better. Often, I discover ways that things could have been better, and I make a mental note what to do next time. Other times, however, it seems the days goes off as it was intended. <BR> <BR> Today started off fine with a morning client. She was pushing iron and everything was going as planned. Then we hit the squat rack. Again things were going... Fri, 10 Aug 2012 20:22:48 EST Yes, I'm Special! <BR> I have posted on the importance of finding your “reason” to train in the past, but I want to expound upon this. Training for something special gives us purpose besides simply “getting into shape,” or “losing weight.” It gives us something more specific to focus our energy on. <BR> <BR> One of the many police jobs I held in my previous life as a cop was as a bike cop. Not motorcycles, but bicycles. People often said to me, “you mean they make you ride a bike?” My reply was alw... Mon, 6 Aug 2012 22:10:21 EST It's MY choice! <BR> <BR> I’s been a while since I last posted as I have been taking a final exam to get my certification in Sports Fitness Nutrition. While taking a break, I stumbled upon some news that may interest those concerned with health and fitness. <BR> <BR> Michael Bloomburg, New York City’s mayor is known for his war on unhealthy practices. He eliminated restaurants from using too many animal fats, and has also attempted to regulate the size of soda drinks believing that this is a part of A... Wed, 1 Aug 2012 23:00:40 EST Proper support <BR> <BR> So I have a client, Debbie Ross, who I was training today. During the training, we were talking about the importance of having a support network around each of us as we continue this fitness journey. <BR> <BR> Let’s face it, EVERYONE that decides to “get into shape” goes into it with the greatest of intent. No one starts out wanting failure. While there are many things that go into the overall plan, one that often gets overlooked is having the right support. <BR> <BR> Fail... Mon, 23 Jul 2012 17:14:22 EST For those you love! <BR> <BR> So I arrived home from a trip to Boston to see the fireworks while vacationing. Having been a police officer in my former life, I enjoy watching people. Their interactions shows so much. Along with all of this watching people, came a few life lessons. <BR> <BR> One thing that made me laugh was a conversation I overheard between a man and his wife as we were checking out an old WWII navel vessel sitting in dry dock. The man, obviously impressed with the weaponry of the ship... Sat, 7 Jul 2012 20:23:09 EST Am I really happy? <BR> <BR> Recently I have had several discussions with people that made me ponder happiness. What IS happiness? What I have discovered is that happiness to one person may not be happiness to another. Now I know, no one is ALWAYS happy, but being so most of the time is good enough. The key is finding what makes YOU happy! <BR> <BR> So what does this have to do with a fitness blog? A lot really. Exercise has been shown to increase your overall sense of well being, which can help ... Wed, 27 Jun 2012 19:54:46 EST Where do you want to be? <BR> Today I trained a client that has, how you say, been on the planet a little longer than most of the one’s I train. The thing is, she is already in great shape, and knocked out 50 sit ups in a row. The great thing is she is not content! She is striving for MORE! She is challenging herself! This is more than many people can muster and I commented on how well she is doing. As we chatted after the session, I realized one thing. Over the years, I have met young old people, and ... Thu, 21 Jun 2012 18:18:01 EST Keep it simple!!! <BR> Cardiovascular (CVD) disease is something we all must be aware of. Let’s face it, it is a huge hurdle in today’s society. Of interest is the fact that during WWII, there was a sharp decrease in CVD thought to be from the scarcity of high fat meats, butter, sugar, and eggs, as well as a reduction in calories in general. Additionally, because of the shortage of gas, people simply walked more! <BR> <BR> We can take from this some simple lessons. A change in diet and a little more ... Tue, 19 Jun 2012 07:28:23 EST Proper foot position when benching. <BR> <BR> While I have posted on the before, I believe it is necessary to remind people of the importance of foot position during the bench press. I often see people benching with their feet resting on the bench itself. Now, while at first glance this may not seem like a problem, it is a bad habit to get into. <BR> <BR> I suppose this comes about as it does not seem to affect things when people are just starting out because of the minimal weight being used. As their strength builds h... Fri, 8 Jun 2012 08:31:41 EST Two-a-day training: Is it right for you? <BR> <BR> I recently started experimenting with training twice a day instead of one longer workout. What I have found is doing so allows me to train with more intensity. One of the problems with training several body parts in one workout, is that body parts trained later in the session may not get the same type of work as the earlier ones. Let’s face it, if you are training hard, you lose strength as time progresses. It is simply hard to keep up the same pace throughout an hour long w... Thu, 7 Jun 2012 13:19:42 EST A real pain! <BR> Injuries are simply a part of this game we call life. Anyone that has been physically training for some time either has, or will eventually get some type of injury. No worries! Our bodies take care of themselves and we eventually bounce back. Still there are things we can do to speed the process. <BR> <BR> While there are three distinct stages of healing, one that is of most concern is Inflammation. Inflammation lasts up to four days after an injury, and IS a part of the heal... Fri, 1 Jun 2012 12:35:44 EST Eating Disorders <BR> Something that is rarely talked about, at least openly, are eating disorders. Interestingly, it is estimated that about 8 million people is the U.S. have some type of eating disorder. To add to this, nearly one third of those affected are female athletes. <BR> <BR> Eating disorders however, actually do not involve food itself as the primary problem. It is merely a symptom. Common causes for these types of disorders are the following: <BR> <BR> Low self-esteem <BR> <BR> Feelin... Thu, 31 May 2012 16:11:55 EST Mind-muscle connection. <BR> One of the hardest things to develop when strength training is the mind-muscle connection, or the ability to feel the targeted muscle work. The need to do so, however, is vital if you are to get the most out of your workouts. <BR> <BR> Not all muscles are difficult to “feel” working such as the biceps. Realistically, we have been “making muscles” since we were a little kid. When told to do so, we simply flexed our biceps. Areas such as the back however, are not as easily felt w... Wed, 23 May 2012 13:17:46 EST Mind-muscle connection. <BR> One of the hardest things to develop when strength training is the mind-muscle connection, or the ability to feel the targeted muscle work. The need to do so, however, is vital if you are to get the most out of your workouts. <BR> <BR> Not all muscles are difficult to “feel” working such as the biceps. Realistically, we have been “making muscles” since we were a little kid. When told to do so, we simply flexed our biceps. Areas such as the back however, are not as easily felt w... Wed, 23 May 2012 13:17:41 EST Water requirements. <BR> As the summer months approach, care must be taken to stay hydrated. While we all know water is needed for our bodies, I thought it would be a good time to go a little further into WHY it is needed. <BR> <BR> Our bodies are made up of 60% water give or take a little depending on individual makeup. This fact alone shows the importance of keeping our fluid balance in check. Among other things, water acts as a solvent allowing solids to be transported throughout the body. It acts a... Mon, 21 May 2012 12:32:13 EST A new twist. <BR> Set training is one of the basic systems used for strength gains. Three sets of ten has been used by just about everybody that has picked up a weight at some point in their life. This system has you lift a weight for 10 reps, rest, another 10 reps, rest and ending with the last 10 reps. At the end of the exercise you will have done 30 reps. <BR> <BR> Now, I often talk about the importance of changing things up, so here is a little twist. Instead of allowing the number of reps d... Thu, 17 May 2012 11:12:55 EST The Company We Keep <BR> In the late 80’s, I had to make a decision which was one of the most challenging in my personal life. I was in college, and Gary, one of my best friends from high school had asked me to be in his wedding. At the same time, the rugby team I was playing for had made it to the state playoffs, and I was needed there the same weekend I really struggled with the decision, but in the end decided to play rugby instead of going to my friend’s wedding. Part of my thinking was it was bette... Fri, 11 May 2012 17:17:37 EST Elves and body fat analysis! <BR> We have all seen the scales or handheld devises that measure body fat. Perhaps, some of you use them to track progress. Despite what is commonly believed, elves do not actually life inside these machines and magically calculate your body fat. <BR> <BR> These devises actually send a small current of electricity through the body and measures the time it takes to pass through. Through a series of calculations, the body fat is then determined. Now, there is a method to this madne... Wed, 9 May 2012 12:13:37 EST It's the government's fault I'm obese! <BR> So, the government has come out with a new finding that over 30% of Americans are obese, and by 2030, it is estimated that over 40% will be obese! The good thing in all of this is that this governmental board has also indicated that it isn’t our fault! It’s the governments! What is needed are simple things like providing more sidewalks! Oh it was also discovered American’s do not have the right food choices presented to them. Thank God we can blame someone else, I would hate ... Tue, 8 May 2012 15:26:29 EST Staying Active for Life! <BR> So a I talked with a friend of mine I have had since high school, and he indicated that some of my blogs have reminded him that his passion for some things has been lacking the past few years. It seems that what he is going through is not uncommon. His kids are growing up, and he is no longer as busy in their lives as he once was. His kids WERE his everything! While I am sure they still are, they are moving on. This is simply part of life. <BR> <BR> I suppose the key now is... Sat, 5 May 2012 13:01:39 EST Magazines, body image, and the thigh gap! <BR> Vogue magazine announced today that they will start using models that are more realistic, getting away from the ultra-skinny. Additionally, they are no longer going to use models that are under the age of 16 years old in their magazines. I applaud the magazine for this choice. <BR> <BR> Let’s face it, some people want to emulate what they see in magazines yet many set very unrealistic goals. This can occur for almost any demographic. Young girls look up to the ultra-skinny so... Fri, 4 May 2012 12:35:28 EST Not Rich? A trainer may still be able to help! <BR> I recently switched one of my newer clients from a free weight exercise, to a machine exercise. She admitted that when she looked at it, she had no idea how it worked and indicated that this was one of the reason she had contacted me. Let’s face it, the gym itself can be intimidating. I mean what do all those machines do? Add to that the fact that even if you know what the machines do, the decision on how to organize your workouts must be made. This is one of the obvious reason... Thu, 3 May 2012 13:25:16 EST Mental health and the fitness lifestyle. <BR> While I generally post on the physical part of the fitness lifestyle, today I want to talk a little about mental health. I feel that the possible suicide of one of football’s greats, Junior Seau, today is a proper backdrop for this type of message. <BR> <BR> Society in general has made talking about such issues difficult as those afflicted with depression, bi-polar, or other disorders are often looked down upon. “Nut’s,” “crazy,” “whacko’s,” and other terms are often used to descri... Wed, 2 May 2012 16:51:50 EST Rocky, the Hulk, and believing in onself. <BR> I look at TV and the movies and feel a little sorry for kids today. I mean, where are the real heroes? What is there to look up to. Ohhh, hey I can drive a car really fast. Or, the likes of House on TV. Hey, I am the only one that can discover the mystery illness, all while having a bad attitude. Really? That’s it? <BR> <BR> Back in my day, things were different! We had the Hulk, and Rocky! Now these were hero’s you could look up to. The Hulk, played by Lou Ferrigno,... Mon, 30 Apr 2012 14:24:02 EST For the greater good. <BR> As I looked over my previous post, “Lessons from a child,” I started pondering more about life. Certainly we must laugh and enjoy life since we are here but for a short time. I mean who wants to get to the end and say, “well that was boring!” Still, there has to be some purpose for your existence. We have to have accomplished SOMETHING. <BR> <BR> Now, I believe God influences the direction of our life, but that we also have to make choices along the way. Even if you do not belie... Sun, 29 Apr 2012 17:52:04 EST Lessons from a child. <BR> I was driving down the road yesterday and saw the greatest thing. A mother going about her business putting things in a car and her daughter standing on the sidewalk nearby. Now, oblivious to all the important things her mother was doing, the little girl was spinning around in circles, and jumping up and down. She was simply having fun! <BR> <BR> This got me thinking about life. It seems that we have been taught that “growing up” means having less and less fun the older you get... Fri, 27 Apr 2012 14:22:42 EST Breathing while lifting. <BR> So I was training a client the other day, and had to remind her to breath. While breathing seems like it should come naturally, for some it can be a little challenging when working out. Now, during cardio this is not a problem as the body requires large amounts of oxygen, but during strength training it can be a problem. <BR> <BR> Holding one’s breath is somewhat natural during heavy lifting as it helps to stabilize the core. Care must be taken however, to continue to breath when... Thu, 26 Apr 2012 13:27:56 EST Apples and Oranges! <BR> I get several fitness and bodybuilding mags for my clients to read when on the treadmill of to borrow for encouragement. I have also read them for years, and often find some interesting information in them. There can be, however, a problem with following some of the workout plans within their pages. Particularly if it is the workout plan of Mr. “X” who is a professional bodybuilder. <BR> <BR> The danger in following some of these plans is the high volume of sets for a particula... Mon, 23 Apr 2012 13:36:22 EST Train with a purpose! <BR> Having been involved in weight training and fitness in general for over 30 years now I look back and notice a pattern. I always trained, and still do with some purpose. It started out as many do, for football when I was younger. I needed to put on some size, and my brother kind of showed me the ropes. From here, I continued to train. <BR> <BR> Once in college, I trained for rugby, and then shifted gears to pass the police fitness tests which were part of the hiring process. O... Sat, 21 Apr 2012 17:17:47 EST What are vitamins anyway? <BR> So, what are vitamins? I mean why do we need them? Vitamins are organic compounds that are only needed in trace amounts. This, however does not mean they are not important. In fact, they are responsible for such things as playing roles in growth, digestion, energy transfer, nervous system function, and regulatory function. They do not, however, play any role as a fuel source. They simply support other functions. <BR> <BR> Ideally, it is best to get your vitamins from fresh ... Wed, 18 Apr 2012 12:33:14 EST Excitement and Disgust! <BR> The very act of starting a fitness program has it’s own inherent problems. In fact, there is often a competition between two things. Excitement and disgust! So, how do two things that are total opposites coexist? <BR> <BR> First, there is excitement. Excitement comes from the fact that you know there is a problem (most often too much body fat), and the thought that you are going to change it. Let’s face it, it is a wonderful feeling when starting out. You have the power t... Tue, 17 Apr 2012 13:05:08 EST Training when ill <BR> I have a client that has been battling a cold. Therefore, she has had to cancel the last two workouts. In talking with her, I can tell she is a little upset with herself as she is very motivated to train. <BR> <BR> I myself go through this struggle every time I get sick. To train or not to train? We must, however, remind ourselves that the reason we train is to progress. So, the real question should be, “will training allow me to progress or set me back?” <BR> <BR> What... Sat, 14 Apr 2012 17:45:14 EST The Three Month Itch! <BR> So, one of my client’s has been having a little motivation problem. Recently, she has been a little lethargic and has cancelled a few appointments. Over the previous three months, she has made remarkable progress, but things have slowed some. So, after a swift kick in the butt (and a conversation about progress), I got her back on track. Yesterday, she trained with a renewed sense of enthusiasm, and energy. <BR> <BR> This, however, is not an uncommon phenomenon. Eventually, p... Thu, 12 Apr 2012 12:09:32 EST Of Religion, Eating Disorders, and Respect! <BR> So, this is quit the mix, but I saw a couple posts on both Facebook and Tumblr that got me thinking. Some were really complaints by people that didn’t want to see anymore posts on Easter, and others were simply jokes posted about the Holiday. <BR> <BR> What I noticed however, was that one of the posts was from a girl who is self injurious, or cuts herself. It is obvious that when one is self injurious, they are unhappy people. Additionally, those that overeat “comfort foods,” are ... Sun, 8 Apr 2012 18:52:47 EST Which is better? <BR> So I got into a little discussion about free weight training vs. the use of machines. I mean, what is the difference? Is one better than the other? The answer, like most of my answers is…that depends. <BR> <BR> Machines are primarily isolation movements. By that I mean, they restrict the movement which targets a specific muscle. For example, when you do a biceps curl, you work the BICEPS, and the biceps alone. Essentially the machine prohibits stabilizer muscles from coming... Fri, 6 Apr 2012 07:22:54 EST I caught the bug! <BR> So, I have been seeing a lot of posts that indicate that people are seeing progress after starting a training program. While that is the point, It’s as though they are surprised! The great thing is that the further they go, the more they improve, which feeds their desire to continue to improve. <BR> <BR> Success breeds more success! You will see that as you start seeing even little results, it gives you the drive to push yourself. As I have stated so many times before, this is... Wed, 4 Apr 2012 11:46:56 EST Chasing Rainbows! <BR> I remember as a young child chasing a rainbow. Having grown up on a farm, we were allowed to roam open spaces. I saw the rainbow, and could see it ended in a field, so I began walking toward it. I could not wait, as I believed I would be able to scoop up the colors in my hand. As I got toward the end of the field, I saw that I was mistaken, and it now ended in the next field. I continued my trek, but again discovered it was resting further than I first believed. <BR> <BR> For... Mon, 26 Mar 2012 13:36:26 EST Listen to your body! <BR> As I have stated before, one of the most overlooked aspect of a training routine is rest. Remember, it is NOT during the workout that you grow, but the time when you rest. The workout IS the catalyst that causes growth, but without adequate rest, there simply will be no growth. Only the spinning of one’s wheels, or worse yet, going backwards. <BR> <BR> It is therefore important to listen to your body. I bring this up from my experience with today’s scheduled workout, which was ba... Sun, 25 Mar 2012 16:59:09 EST Starvation Mode! <BR> <BR> So, I did a quick reply to a message I got on this topic, but as it seems many people have a misunderstanding of this concept, I would post further. The topic revolves around the amount of calories that people should be taking in. Now, as everyone’s requirements differ, I cannot give an exact answer. The prevailing research indicates that 1200 calories a day would be the minimum amount required. That said, most individuals would require more, especially if they are exercis... Sat, 24 Mar 2012 15:49:20 EST The hierarchy of disease! <BR> I didn’t sleep well last night. My mind was racing, and to be honest I was writing this blog all night…in my head. What got me going was a post by a pro-anorexic person that was putting down overweight people as disgusting, saying that being pro-anorexic was much better! Thus, the hierarchy of disease. <BR> <BR> Now, I posted a rather sharp reply to her, as it bothered me that she was putting down others. To be honest, perhaps I should have left things alone, but I felt the nee... Fri, 23 Mar 2012 12:18:30 EST Ugly running! <BR> So I saw a post that got me thinking. In a nutshell, the person said that while she wanted to go to the pool to help lose weight, she wouldn’t go until she lost some weight first, as she felt uncomfortable. <BR> <BR> Now, I get the whole uncomfortable thing. No one wants to feel like people are looking down on them. I know I personally have been made fun of when I run. Sure, it was half jokingly, but there is always some truth in a joke, right. Now, when I run I look nothing ... Thu, 22 Mar 2012 15:04:11 EST Of Bigfoot, cardio and strength training! Of Bigfoot, cardio and strength training! <BR> <BR> I often here of the “runner’s high!” This for me is as elusive as Bigfoot or Jimmy Hoffa! In the 30 plus years I have been training, I have never experienced it. That, however, does not mean that I don’t run. In fact I do. It is simply something I know I must do as part of my fitness routine. In the end, it will be what keeps my heart healthy. <BR> <BR> Now, weight lifting is another matter. I love the challenge of putting we... Tue, 20 Mar 2012 13:44:28 EST What's done is done! <BR> One of the things I often see is someone saying that they binged over the weekend, and intend to work out twice the next day to compensate. Even worse, is some say they will simply starve themselves as the cure for the error of their ways! The body simply doesn’t work that way! What’s done is done! <BR> <BR> If you ate over your caloric needs, you cannot simply starve yourself to equal things out. The food you ate would have already been digested, used and eliminated. Starvin... Mon, 19 Mar 2012 14:43:35 EST That thing called LIFE! <BR> So today I was watching my dogs play together. Both running at full speed, chasing each other around the yard. I must say, it is a beautiful thing to watch my German Shepherd run. He is built for it. Using the word running may not even be the right word. It’s as though he floats. He was truly made to run. The pit, however, is not as graceful. She looks more like a freight train coming down the tracks, but still they will chase each other for hours! It makes me laugh. <... Sun, 18 Mar 2012 16:26:45 EST Is a calorie really a calorie? Is a calorie really a calorie? <BR> <BR> The problem with counting calories, and calories alone, is that this method does not take into account that food is fuel. All calories are NOT the same. Now, before anyone gets in an uproar, I understand that nutrition is a major topic that obviously cannot be discussed in detail in this post. I mean there are books and books discussing the topic, but I want to convey some information that the average fitness enthusiast can use. <BR> <BR> I pos... Sat, 17 Mar 2012 17:45:07 EST Whole body vs. split training: What's the difference? <BR> One of the things I like to do is provide some type of information that people can use. Split training will eventually be something that must be dealt with if a person continues to weight train heavily. Why? Recovery time! Simply put, the heavier we train, the longer it takes for the body to recover. <BR> <BR> Now, the whole body workout is great for beginners as it really teaches the basics, while the body is still able to recover from the stress put on it from training. As w... Fri, 16 Mar 2012 16:57:21 EST Drop sets: Pushing further So, today I will discuss the drop set. Just as I had previously discussed negative training, drop sets are another way to push yourself. Again, this is necessary as pushing ourselves beyond what the body is used to is the key to progress. <BR> <BR> Adding drop sets into your routine is a technique that can be utilized without a spotter, when working out alone. It is most effective when using exercises that use weight stacks or dumbbells. <BR> <BR> To explain I will simply use an exa... Thu, 15 Mar 2012 12:46:51 EST All or none! <BR> <BR> Motivation is a funny thing! I mean, it’s awesome when you are highly motivated. You get more done, and most importantly ENJOY doing it! The problem comes when something makes waves with that motivation. As it starts to wane, people can succumb to what I call the all or none mentality. In fact, “all or none” can be a problem when first adopting fitness as a lifestyle. <BR> <BR> It goes like this. The decision is made to get healthy. People start eating a healthy die... Wed, 14 Mar 2012 12:56:37 EST Negatives for positive growth! Anyone that has followed my blogs knows that I preach that we must force ourselves to do more to improve. That’s great, but some may ask HOW? I mean how do you push yourself harder, if you are giving it all you have? One technique that can be used is doing negatives. To explain how to do them, I must first give a little overview on WHY they work. <BR> <BR> Lifting a weight, doing the positive portion of the lift, is actually the weakest action of the muscle. What I mean is that we c... Tue, 13 Mar 2012 14:01:48 EST